Sequence comparison of the medaka, Oryzias latipes, major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I region between two inbred strains, the HNI (derived from the Northern Population) and the Hd-rR (from the Southern Population), revealed a ∼100 kb highly divergent segment encompassing two MHC class IA genes, Orla-UAA and Orla-UBA, and two immunoproteasome beta subunit genes, PSMB8 and PSMB10. To elucidate the genetic diversity of this region, we analyzed polymorphisms of the PSMB8 and PSMB10 genes using wild populations of medaka from three genetically different groups: the Northern Population, the Southern Population, and the China-West Korean Population. A total of 1,245 specimens from 10 localities were analyzed, and all the PSMB8 and PSMB10 alleles were classified into the N (fixed in the HNI strain) or the d (fixed in the Hd-rR strain) lineage. Polymerase chain reaction analysis of the region from PSMB8 to PSMB10 indicated that the two allelic lineages of these genes are segregating together constituting dichotomous haplotypic lineages. Both haplotypic lineages were identified in all three groups, although the frequency of d haplotypic lineage (73-100%) was much higher than that of N haplotypic lineage (0-27%) in all analyzed populations. The two allelic lineages of the PSMB8 gene showed curious substitutions at the 31st and 53rd residues of the mature peptide, which are likely involved in formation of the S1 pocket, suggesting that these alleles have a functional difference in cleavage specificity. These results indicate that the two medaka MHC haplotypic lineages encompassing the PSMB8 and PSMB10 genes are maintained in wild populations by a balancing selection.
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